This past week, in the midst of the unprecedented crises in the world’s markets, Eduardo Elstein set aside his many businesses and traveled to Israel to do what he likes most: to attend a session about the future of the nation as part of the World Jewish Congress.
The topic, most likely, is yawn-inducing for many.
But for Elstein, third-generation real estate entrepreneur and richest Jew in Argentina, it’s about the important principle he learned from the Lubavitcher Rebbe some 20 years ago.
“Don’t do that which harms your peace of mind.” the Rebbe told him.
In an interview with Israel’s financial daily Calcalist, Elstein related: “In 1991 I had a first meeting with the Rebbe. I told him ‘I have a big investment of 45 million dollars in the New York stock market. What should I do with it?’
“The Rebbe told me, ‘The New York stock exchange deprives one of peace of mind and of sleep; it certainly doesn’t strengthen your soul. And if one doesn’t sleep properly, even for one night, because of his investment in the stock market, he cannot fulfill Hashem’s mitzvos.’ In simple words, the Rebbe predicted the future: ‘Sell all your shares slowly, and buy property instead.’ ”
So what did you do?
“I had no choice. I sold all the shares. If I already went to a rabbi to ask his advice, I must accept his answer. If you don’t ask, you don’t ask. But if you do, then you better do what you’re told, otherwise you’re in bad shape.”
And what happened then?
“I sold it all and started buying property in Argentina instead. Weeks later the market in New York crashed 65%, and the value of my properties went up 50% that year.”